Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (2024)

Have you ever wondered how deviled eggs got their name? You're not alone. I mean, "deviled" is a pretty harsh way to describe a perfectly delightful appetizer. Here's how the classic dish got its satanic moniker.

Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (1)

What Are Deviled Eggs?

Deviled eggs are hard-boiled eggs that have been peeled, cut in half, then stuffed with a paste made from the yolk and other ingredients.

Basic deviled egg filling is made with egg yolks, mayonnaise, relish, mustard, salt, and pepper. The eggs are often seasoned with spices like paprika or cayenne pepper.

Typically, deviled eggs are served as appetizers. They often make appearances at holiday parties, picnics, or other social functions.

While the stuffed eggs are popular throughout the U.S. and Europe, they're particularly associated with the American South and Midwest.

Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (2)

Deviled Egg History

Believe it or not, the Southern Sunday school staple actually originated in Ancient Rome. Though they weren't prepared the same way they are now, eggs that had been boiled and seasoned were a popular appetizer among the elite members of Roman society. The dish was so common that it inspired the phrase "ab ova usque ad mala, which literally means "from eggs to apples, or from the beginning of a meal to the end.

"By the 15th century, stuffed eggs had made their way across much of Europe," according to History.com. "Medieval cookbooks contain recipes for boiled eggs that were often filled with raisins, cheese and herbs such as marjoram, parsley and mint and then fried in oil and either topped with a sauce of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and raisins with verjuice (a tart juice made from unripe fruits) or powdered with sugar and served hot."

Stuffed eggs began appearing in U.S. cookbooks by the mid-1800s.

Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (3)

Where Does the Name Come From?

In this case, the adjective "deviled" has a (somewhat) secular meaning — the word "devil" is just a culinary term that is used to describe a highly seasoned dish.

To devil means to "combine a food with various hot or spicy seasonings such as red pepper, mustard, or Tabasco sauce, thereby creating a 'deviled' dish," according to the Food Lover's Companion, the definitive guide to all things food and cooking.

The term likely comes from the connection between spiciness and the presumably hot temperatures in hell.

Since the word "devil" does have negative connotations, though, some groups of people prefer to call the dish "stuffed eggs," "salad eggs," or "dressed eggs."

Deviled Egg Recipes

No matter what you call them, the hard-boiled egg dish is pretty dang delicious. Try your hand at one of our favorite takes on the ancient recipe:

Hungry for more? Explore our entire collection of Deviled Egg Recipes.

Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? (2024)


Why Are They Called Deviled Eggs? ›

The term deviled egg comes from an 18th-century culinary term that the Oxford English Dictionary originally used to describe a fried or boiled dish that was highly seasoned. and this was eventually used to also include spicy, condiment-filled dishes, as well. It was eventually used to describe eggs.

Why do we call deviled eggs deviled eggs? ›

In the 19th century, the adjective "deviled" came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, including eggs prepared with mustard, pepper, or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity. Similar uses of "devil" for spiced foods include deviled ham and fra diavolo sauce (from the Italian word for "devil").

What is so devilish about deviled eggs? ›

"Deviled" goes back to the late 18th century as a way to refer to something that's spicy or grilled with spice. Deviled eggs are "deviled" because they're generally made with paprika and black pepper. We can also thank "deviled" for other mouth-watering dishes like deviled kidney and deviled bones.

What did the Romans call deviled eggs? ›

For National Deviled Egg Day, we're taking it back to Ancient Rome…. where serving deviled eggs was often referred to as “ab ova usque ad mala.”

What is a fun fact about deviled eggs? ›

If we rewind time, we find deviled eggs in ancient Rome, where boiled eggs flavored with spicy sauces were so commonly served as an appetizer that a Roman saying, “ab ovo usque ad mala,” meaning “from egg to apples,” referred to the expected bookends of a meal.

What do Christians call deviled eggs? ›

In some regions of the South and the Midwest, deviled eggs are also called salad or dressed eggs when they are served at a church function, to avoid the term "deviled." Deviled eggs have been a popular picnic offering as well as being a standard item in what has become known, especially in the South, as "funeral food."

What did Katy Perry call deviled eggs? ›

“Deviled eggs were called 'angeled' eggs. I wasn't allowed to eat Lucky Charms, but I think that was the sugar.

Why do deviled eggs stink? ›

The green-gray color (and the whiff of sulfur smell that often accompanies it) comes from the reaction of iron in the egg yolk and sulfur in the egg white. When heated, the two can combine to make green-gray ferrous sulfide and hydrogen sulfide gas.

What is the danger zone for deviled eggs? ›

Never leave cooked eggs or egg dishes out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours or for more than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90° F. Bacteria that can cause illness grow quickly at warm temperatures (between 40° F and 140° F).

What are church lady deviled eggs? ›

One of the appetizers that I always order is the Church Lady Deviled Eggs. The eggs are served in a ceramic egg holder, which is good because they definitely need to be in something sturdy. Each half of an egg is filled pretty high with a smooth and creamy egg yolk mixture.

What ethnicity is deviled eggs? ›

According to The History Channel, deviled eggs go all the way back to ancient Rome, where eggs were boiled, seasoned with spicy sauces, and then served at the beginning of meals. In the 13th century, stuffed eggs began to appear in the southern, Andalusian regions of Spain.

Why are deviled eggs so good? ›

Because deviled eggs are simply hard-cooked eggs in which the yolk is removed, mixed with mayonnaise and seasoning, and stuffed back into the halves of whites, they are easy to personalize. They are soft and creamy in texture, piquant in flavor, often a little sweet, and are a blank canvas when it comes to garnishing.

Are deviled eggs a southern thing? ›

Deviled eggs are a Southern tradition. Just what is it that makes deviled eggs Southern? Some insist it's the addition of sweet pickle relish. Other's point to the mayo—Duke's, specifically—the only choice for proper Southern cooks who like that hallmark creaminess and satisfying tang.

What is a nickname for deviled eggs? ›

One person explained that alternate names for deviled eggs are used in other parts of the U.S., including “stuffed eggs,” “salad eggs,” “dressed eggs,” and “angel eggs” for eggs with less fat and cholesterol.

Why are deviled eggs only good for 2 days? ›

Deviled eggs are best consumed within 4 days, provided they've been refrigerated promptly and stored properly. Deviled eggs have a shorter shelf life because they contain a filling, usually made with mayonnaise or yogurt.

Why did they call it deviled eggs? ›

The term likely comes from the connection between spiciness and the presumably hot temperatures in hell. Since the word "devil" does have negative connotations, though, some groups of people prefer to call the dish "stuffed eggs," "salad eggs," or "dressed eggs."

Is it OK to eat deviled eggs? ›

They're delicious, filling, and easy to make.

Why are deviled eggs wet? ›

While proper cooking techniques are the first step to avoiding weeping, experimenting with certain deviled egg ingredients, unfortunately, can result in a watery, sloppy appearance on the plate. Ingredients with a high water content, like tomatoes or cucumbers, can help create this wet scenario.

Why are deviled eggs lumpy? ›

The eggs may be overcooked or undercooked. Sometimes, hard-boiled eggs are impossible to peel, and fillings can turn out lumpy or gloopy with too much mayonnaise.

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